Sunday, 8 July 2012

Canon Alfred Snow 1845 - 1922

Canon Alfred Snow was Teresa's final spiritual director from 1883 right up until her death in 1905.  He was the parish priest of St. Mary's, Aughton in Lancashire and from 1902 Canon and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Liverpool, proving to be an extremely able and business like administrator.  He was a learned priest who on becoming her director undertook a thorough study of mystical theology, particularly that of St. John of the Cross.  He was born in c.1845 and died in 1922. 

Originally training for the legal profession he entered the priesthood training at St. Cuthbert's Seminary, Ushaw, County Durham.  He was a curate under Fr. Edward Powell at St. Alexander's, Bootle since 1874, before becoming parish priest of St. Mary's, Aughton near Ormskirk in Lancashire.  He took on the spiritual direction of Teresa in September 1883 with great diffidence after she came under the suspicion of Bishop Bernard O'Reilly of Liverpool, who ordered Fr. Powell to cease direction and for her to stop writing to him.  However he was to never regret the decision and as an old man after her death he was full of tears over his remembrance of the times, when he was the director of one he regarded as one of the greatest saints this land ever produced.

Teresa was profoundly grateful to him as a director, as he proved a most wise and learned confessor, and he was also to provide for her material needs.  His sister by remarkable providence was a Sister of Mercy and the mother superior of St. Catherine's Convent in Edinburgh, and by her Teresa was able to live in prayer and seclusion for 10 years.  

He never wavered in the slightest in believing in her sanctity and probity, even when she was to be greatly calumnated and many of his fellow priests turned against her.  On hearing of her dying he said the Te Deum, rejoicing that his work had been brought to a successful conclusion and knowing that she was going to her eternal reward.  Yet he did not seek to publicise her or advance her cause after her death, believing that God would do the work in his own time.

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